Best Tips for Flying with Sinus Infection

There are travellers who enjoy flying and people who hate it. But I don’t think there is a single person who actually enjoys flying with sinus infection. Sinus infection, ear infection or sinusitis are frequent especially during the autumn and winter month, and can really spoil your mood before the flight.

I myself have “enjoyed” flying with sinus infection – a pretty nasty one last Christmas. And although the flight still wasn’t pleasant, it was not as bad as I would expect in my condition. And now having two small kids, who get runny noses and pain in their ears quite often, I need my strategy how to cope in case they develop some cold just before flying.

Why is flying with sinus infection painful?

Because of the air pressure during the take-off and landing. The mucus in your nose blocks the passages and this creates additional pressure on the eardrum. So in order to make flying with sinus infection less painful, you need to reduce the pressure on your eardrums.

Of course, if the trip can be avoided or re-schedule, the best idea is to stay at home, eat some chicken soup and watch Gilmore Girls in bed. But alas, sometimes life is brutal this is not an option.

Here are some tips to make flying with sinus infection a little easier:

Decongesting pills

Take some decongesting pills before the flight. This will help to clear the mucus and keep your air passages clear – or at least less blocked.

Decongesting spray

Use some decongesting spray before take-off and before landing. This is a short term remedy – but so is your flight. Such sprays shouldn’t be used for a long period of time, as they can make the mucus situation even worse, but it might be a good strategy to make sure you have one with you. Remember to choose the age-appropriate one for adults or children.

Hot Cups Method

And now for the secret trick, which is called hot cups. When you are onboard, inform the flight attendant that you or your child are flying with sinus infection and ask them for hot cups. In 99% of cases, they will know what to do and will take care of that for you.

Hot cup method is frequently used when the trip can’t be avoided. You take a usual plastic cup, fill it with paper napkins and then pour very hot water on them. This way the napkins absorb the water and stay warm and moist for a longer time. You then take the cups and hold them to your ears or to the ears of your child. The warm air will reduce the pressure on your eardrums and will make the trip less painful.

Don’t worry about looking stupid. It is the kind of cute-stupid, which all of us should be allowed to look once in a while. If you happen to fly Aeroflot, remember that the name of the hot cups method in Russian is cheburashka, which is this:

Come on, show this picture to your children, if they refuse the cups. They can also be cheburashkas!

I mean yes, you will look stupid, but I can bet that other passengers will be impressed by just how much secret knowledge you have and will also keep this trick in mind for their future trips. The only drawback of the hot cup method is that it is a great conversation starter, and conversations are the last thing you want to have while flying with sinus infection.

4 thoughts on “Best Tips for Flying with Sinus Infection

    • merrygoroundslowly says:

      That sounds reasonable, will try it next time on me or one of the kids. There’s such a big chance that at least one of us will have stuffy nose during our trips in December or January. 🙂 At least it gives me a chance to test different things.

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